Giving Encouragement

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2 Timothy 1:7…”For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

A transforming Christian straddles a line between reality and our own lives, and the ever-increasing “power” within us that places us in another reality able to see and feel the needs of other souls. Timothy speaks to this in this line of scripture that in the larger picture, is him giving encouragement to his faithful. The chapter’s final paragraph begins with the words…“You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygeius and Hermogenes.” (2 Timothy 1:15). He doesn’t care. He’s offering praise to the loyal. He knew his destination and mission.

That confidence in knowing only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once it is present within us, we have access to that confidence and the unlimited powers of creation that are required for what is asked of us. I’m a content writer for a well-known family website. I’ve had that platform for several years now and it reaches large audiences of specifically men, but entire families. I did not pursue it…instead it chose me. It’s a tremendous responsibility given mostly anonymously. There is no personal glory. There are no riches. No stepping stones to further gain. Just the platform of – teacher. To be a teacher of Godly things is a dangerous path. James warns us about this in the following scripture: James 3:1…”Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” That warning lays heavy on me when I write. Am I adding to his word? Am I subtracting? Am I misleading? Is this right…is it wrong? Constant questions in my head. Hesitation has become my instinct in maturity, replacing the ignorant eagerness to speak my mind quickly and fully. Yet, I have the confidence of the Spirit inside of me that leads me forward.

I’ve written hundreds of articles on family. One that is currently up on that site is about what a child of divorce needs from their dad. It was impressed on me to write that article and it’s had a large readership. It was written from the perspective of the child that gets blurred out by the war raging between the parents. I read a comment this morning from a dad who wrote simply under the article…”Sure seems hopeless sometimes.” I found his sentence to be the perfect reaction to what he had read and why I was led to craft it. Why? Because he realized the enormous depth of emotion and consequence actually taking place, which is what my work attempted to convey to the reader. In 700 words or less, which is nearly impossible. Nothing is impossible with the power of the Spirit. He got it. He reacted. Now he’s thinking. Now he knows. Hopeless? I don’t think he believes that or he wouldn’t have used the word…seems. He knows how to proceed. I gave the instruction. His issue will be if he does what he must do for his children. Live selfless to his responsibility. I taught…will he listen?

To give him encouragement, I wrote below his sentence that I had prayed for him. Which I did. I never say that without actually sincerely doing it. To give encouragement I’ve come to believe is our chief obligation as “lights.” The picture above was taken by me on a trail where I had stopped to rest. I fashioned a simple cross out of twigs as I caught my breath and left it behind for eyes I’ve never met. Encouragement. I was led to do that. Why…only the Spirit knows. Are you a teacher? Do you instruct? Are you a parent? A husband? Wife? Child? There is an honor, integrity and responsibility placed upon us. To fulfill it, mostly, we are to simply…encourage. Just as Timothy did to his faithful in this scripture.

“If you are a leader, you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it – young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous – is changed by it.” John C. Maxwell.

Gary Abernathy